As I just finished another very busy week, I see yet again I didn’t get everything on my list accomplished. I thought that when my kids got older I would have more time for me, but that is not the case.
I made the choice when I started my business when my kids were toddlers, to be home most days when they got home from school. When they were in elementary school I hired a sitter to be at my home after school, so I could finish my day on time. I hired one who drove, so she could bring them to their activities. They had to be someone who would engage with my daughter, since she really loves spending time with others. It was a learning experience for me, it took a lot of planning and organizing to get it right. I did it so I could fully be present after my day was done instead of being frustrated because I couldn't get work done.
My son is now off to college and my daughter is too old for a sitter. So I am now back to having to schedule myself to pick her up with her after school activities. With more experience, I now have better systems in place so I can leave a little early when needed.
I wouldn't change it for anything. It is so worth it! They are my first priority and are the ones that make me happy - along with my husband. But really planning out time for both my business and family is how I balance it. Also having clients who are parents too and/or understand things that can come up being a working mom.
My 5 Life Hacks To Put Family First
Schedule Family Time – When my kids were young we took advantage of weekends when there were no activities or only one of them would be out. By taking them to dinner individually and really talking to them about what was going on allowed us to spend quality time with our kids. Phones away and really talk. We also scheduled movie time at home on those weekends even when they didn’t want to. The best advice is to switch up where Dad takes one kid and Mom takes other so they feel they have their own special time, and you are not focusing on anything else but them.
Organize – If you work at home like me make sure your office work stays in the office. This is so that you have designated areas in your home that is just for the family. I have learned by having a separate space that is just mine for business has helped my kids see that when I am not in my office they could talk to me. Set rules and boundaries, also having child care even if you work at home can work, just let them know that when the do not disturb sign is up, Mom is working.
Table Talk – Plan to have dinner all together at the table every night or at least on the weekend. Go around and share your day or week. Make it light and fun. We always share at least one funny story we had that week. Nothing like a good laugh to bring your family together.
Check-In With Kids Daily – I made both of my kids come downstairs and the end of the night and tell me good night, even with them being teenagers they still wanted a hug goodnight. When they were little it was both of us that tucked them in.
Does Your Face Light Up – This is one that I didn't see in the early years. Then I heard this from author Toni Morrison. “When your child walks into the room, does your face light up?” I was guilty of seeing my son’s wrinkled shirt or my daughter’s messy hair when they first came home from school and then commented. But it is so important to them that you just show how happy you are to see them and when they do have something to say look them in the eye and be totally present with them.
Happy Everything! Karen